America met the Gosselin family in 2007 when their first TV special called Surviving Sextuplets and Twins aired. The show (and its follow up special one year later) led to a reality show called Jon and Kate Plus 8. The show was a success but the Gosselin marriage wasn't, ending in divorce in 2009. TLC kept the series going for several more years under the name Kate Plus 8, while Jon achieved tabloid notoreity for his antics. Kate and the kids took a TV hiatus for a few years but came back to TLC for several more season of Kate Plus 8 starting in 2014.
But by 2016, it wasn't really Kate Plus 8 anymore. One of the sextuplets, Collin, had moved away from the family to live in a residential facility to manage what Kate calls "special needs". This weekend, Jon posted a rare photo of Collin during a visit for the boy's 14th birthday. The photo sparked the questions but not a lot of answers.
Where is Collin Gosselin and why is he there instead of at home? Read on to find out more.
1. Collin has always challenged Kate.
Raising 8 kids while divorced can't be an easy proposition but Kate seems to have had trouble with Collin from the time he was little.
In her book I Just Want You To Know, she wrote a letter to him talking about his attitude, saying " As you have grown, however, I must say you have also challenged my authority greatly. At two and a half, you began testing and trying my parenting at every chance. I called Daddy at work many days crying because you would not obey. As you have grown, this fact has not changed. You continue to be determined to do what you want to do, and I continue to try to rein you in."
2. The divorce hurt him significantly.
Collin was only five when his parents divorced and the changes were difficult for him. In her letter to him, Kate acknowledges the difficulty he had with it, telling him “I know the recent events in our family structure have greatly upset you, maybe you most of all. I want you to know that I have made and will continue to make decisions based on what I believe is best for you and your brothers and sisters. These changes, I realize, are still painful and hurt a lot.”
3. He was expelled from school.
Collin and his sister Alexis were asked to leave their private school in 2010. Kate said at the time that it wasn't an expulsion, telling People that, “The school would never use that word. [Collin and Alexis] were not expelled. [The school] did not feel like they could meet their needs anymore, so it was decided they should leave, for now.”
But other sources close to the family told a different story. Radar Online reported at the time that the two children had abused both adults and children and even after intensive therapy with staff at the school, their behavior had not changed.
4. Kate and Jon clashed over keeping the kids on TV.
It was well known that Jon didn't like keeping the kids in the public eye. He objected to both the show and the paparazzi who tracked them everywhere. After Collin and Alexis left their school, Radar Online reports that Jon tried to get them together with other kids but encountered problems with photographers.
The source says, " They can’t just be tutored at home: these kids need to be integrated with other children. Jon and his [then]-girlfriend Ellen take them to public parks to play with other kids and they tell them to go and make friends because it’s clear they need to develop their social skills.”
5. He has an unspecified diagnosis of special needs.
Kate told People Collin has special needs, though she doesn't go into details, saying, "[There's] a fairly fluid diagnosis of what those needs are, but he needs to learn certain strategies to help him deal with things."
She goes on to ay that she didn't make this public or seek outside help despite his issues affecting the whole family. "This has been a struggle we've had for a very long time, and it's one I've dealt with on my own. I've felt very alone in this. By the same token, it's not something that has only impacted me or him ... our entire family has been impacted."
6. He was sent away in 2016.
Kate decided the chaos of being on a reality show was too much for Collin but didn't pull the plug on the show. Instead she sent him to an unnamed facility where his needs could be addressed away from the cameras, and the family.
A friend of the Gosselins told Hollywood Life the change has been good for Collin saying, "Now it seems that Collin is flourishing and he’s responding very well to one-on-one instruction. He definitely finds it easier to function and cope better without all the chaos that his home life entails.”
7. Kate didn't clue Jon in on the move.
While the change may have been good for Collin, it revealed yet another flaw in the parenting relationship between Jon and Kate. In 2016, InTouch reported that Jon wasn't in the loop on where Collin was going or what the program was for his son, saying "I have an idea of where he is, but I don’t know exactly where he is… I mean, I ask but she [Kate] doesn't tell me. She doesn't answer any of my texts."
8. But Jon was there this weekend for his birthday.
Kate must have finally answered Jon's texts and filled him in on the whereabouts of his son because Jon was there for Collin's 14th birthday on May 10. Jon and sister Hannah visited Collin. All three of them looked happy in an Instagram post on Jon's page.
The parents haven't said when — or if — Collin will graduate from the program he's in a return to the family home. But he's said to be doing well and that's what every parent wants for their children.
Rebekah Kuschmider is a DC area writer covering politics, celebrity and parenting. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and is a contributor the book Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox . She is a cohost of the weekly political podcast The More Perfect Union.